Louisville sued over plan to reorganize pollution-control distri - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville sued over plan to reorganize pollution-control district

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The head of the union representing workers at the city’s Air Pollution Control District is suing Metro Government over plans to make employees reapply for their jobs.

Wesley Stover, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2629, claims Mayor Greg Fischer’s reorganization plan violates the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the city. Fischer ordered widespread changes at the watchdog agency earlier this year.

Stover also alleges that the city’s “ongoing failure” to provide district employees with adequate equipment and training are violations of the bargaining agreement. The contract is “legally binding” until June 30, 2017, according to the suit.

Stover alleges that a city labor representative announced last week that 19 workers would have to reapply for their positions due to changes in their job descriptions. District director Keith Talley confirmed that the employees wouldn’t be guaranteed new positions at the agency, according to the lawsuit.

But those workers may only be fired for “just cause” or be laid off “for lack of work whereby the most senior would have rights to continue employment based on their seniority,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court, is asking a judge to grant class action status, issue a restraining order preventing the city from completing the reorganization and order the city and the union to resolve their dispute outside the court.

The union filed a grievance last week challenging Fischer’s plan for changes at the agency, according to court documents.

Claims made in a lawsuit represent only one side of a case.

Bill Patteson, spokesman for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, declined to comment because the lawsuit is pending.

Chris Poynter, a Fischer spokesman, also declined to comment on the lawsuit. Fischer’s decision to restructure the agency came after two reviews that evaluated its air monitoring work and overall organization.

“The purpose of the reorganization was to create a better Air Pollution Control District, and that was the sole purpose,” Poynter said.

The suit claims district workers "have suffered immeasurable stress. Some have delayed medical procedures, cancelled family vacations, considered or actually filed paperwork to retire early and thus lose pension credits, all because they have been threatened with and ordered to 'reapply' for their jobs."

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